Wednesday, June 29, 2005


If an article is only just now being published in a peer reviewed journal, the information is already about two to three years old. Any one who regularly writes in scientific journals knows the lag between pulication and actual finding credible results is lenghty (two to three years is not uncommon).

When the administration talks about wanting to win the war on terror, they should be thinking two to three years in advance, not on retrospectively relevant information that no doubt, those who would wish to do us harm already know. Remember the whole Tylenol situation low two decades or so ago? What about the whole anthrax situation in 2001? No culprits found responsible/guilty in either case, now is there?

Disregarding a request from the federal government, the National Academy of Sciences published a paper on Tuesday that describes how terrorists could kill tens of thousands of people by dropping a few grams of botulinum toxin into a milk truck or storage silo.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences had planned on publishing the paper, by two Stanford University researchers, a month ago, but the academy balked when it received a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter described the paper as "a road map for terrorists" and said that "publication is not in the interests of the United States" (The Chronicle, June 17).

But after meeting with government representatives, the academy's leaders decided that the benefits of publishing the paper outweighed any threats it posed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Low-tech beats high-tech every time

Homeland security is a joke, an elephant hiding behind a flag pole. There is no ''security.'' The cockpit door may be hardened but the milk in your airline's coffee isn't.

How much security is achieved by all the excess packaging on consumer products (like Tylenol). Is the public really so naive that they don't think a clever poisoner could repackage an opened product good enough to fool them?

Can Homeland Security stop 100g of weapons-grade anthrax from entering the country? How about tons of cocaine and marijuana?